Did Israel Attack the U.N. 'Accidentally on Purpose'?
By Ian Williams, AlterNet
Posted on July 27, 2006, Printed on July 27, 2006
With the Israeli bombing of a U.N. camp and the killing of four U.N. peacekeepers, we really do seem to be in a "deja vu" all over again phase. Already Kofi Annan is under attack for condemning the " targeting by Israeli Defense Forces of a U.N. Observer post."
It is worth remembering that of all U.N. secretaries-general, Annan has done the most to end Israel's isolation in the organization and maintained the closest relations with Israel's friends in the United States. In the end, however, he is also a secretary-general who sets great store by protecting U.N. staff, and so the palpable anger of his statement is entirely understandable.
So that should result in some serious courts-martial but never does. That feeling was doubtless exacerbated when
So what could be the ? It is clear that there are many in the IDF with a profound contempt for the United Nations and all it stands for, and who would not shed many tears at such an accident. It may also rankle that has, with the dearth of Western reporters in much of southern Lebanon, provided . One only has to think of the fate of the for being in a position to observe what the IDF was up to when the Israelis bombed and shelled an American ship for over an hour,
And most sinisterly of all, there are many Israelis -- including the government only a few days ago, who do not want an international force between them and their targets in Lebanon, who would have no great scruples about bombing a U.N. compound "accidentally on purpose."
This time, the "collateral damage" is not just four dead U.N. personnel. The (See the Israeli peace group 's ad in Ha-Aretz at the end of the article.)
Already, while many countries have endorsed the general idea of putting foreign troops on the Lebanese side of the border, there has been a
Third-world militaries like the Fijians and Ghanaians make lots of money out of providing peacekeepers for UNIFIL and seem to think weekly humiliation by the Israelis and Hezbollah is worth it.
Some Israel supporters are already arguing that the bombing could not have been deliberate because it was a public relations disaster for Israel. Excuse me, but only an American or Israeli commentator could say that. Manifestly, for the rest of the world, , with massive majorities even in Blair's Britain regarding the Israeli attack as a massively disproportionate reaction, let alone how There is some added piquancy that both the Lebanese and Iraqi prime ministers (until this week at least champions of the democratic "New Middle East") are condemning Israel's assault.
Condoleezza Rice's statement that it is "too early" for a ceasefire, when only 500 were dead and countless more dismembered, should go down with Madeleine Albright's since regretted statement that the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children as a result of sanctions was "a price worth paying."
Since Annan is already going at the end of year, which puts him beyond reach of , we can but hope that he will not be browbeaten by Rice, Bolton or Bush, but will use the sacrifice of the U.N. observers to shame the Security Council into demanding an immediate ceasefire.
And who knows, while he is still angry, he may wish to remind them that , and that it has to be a crucial foundation for any peace settlement for the region.
1982 and 2006, side by side
THEN: The war was well in advance.
THIS TIME: The same.
THEN: We went to war only to protect "the Peace of Galilee".
THIS TIME: We go to war to protect Haifa and Afula, too.
THEN: We waited for a provocation (the attempt on the life of Ambassador Argov).
THIS TIME: We waited for a provocation (the capture of two soldiers).
THEN: "We shall advance only 40 KM in order to eliminate the Katyushas."
THIS TIME: "We shall advance only a few kilometers in order to eliminate the rockets."
THEN: Sharon acted behind the back of the cabinet.
THIS TIME: Olmert-Peretz-Halutz act behind the back of the ministers.
THEN: We destroyed Lebanon.
THIS TIME: We are destroying Lebanon.
THEN: Only the PLO profited from the war. A few years later they returned to Palestine.
THIS TIME: Only Hezbollah will profit from the war. Their prestige in the Arab world increases every day.
THEN: We were stuck in the quagmire for 18 years.
THIS TIME: How long shall we be stuck?
Ian Williams writes on the United Nations for AlterNet. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus, The Nation and Salon. He is also the author of "Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776."
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